Women experience menopause, usually between 45 and 55 years old. While they are transitioning to menopause, they may experience several symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, emotional changes, and irregular periods. Of course, these symptoms can be hard to deal with for some.
What’s great is that you can get your hands on natural menopause supplements that contain ingredients to target your concerns specifically. For this, you must also consult your healthcare provider. For instance, ginseng will help boost your mood, calcium will prevent bone loss, and black cohosh may help with hot flashes.
In this article, we’ll talk about menopause, its symptoms, and what foods you should eat and avoid to help you take better care of your health.
What Is Menopause
Menopause is when it’s been 12 consecutive months, and you still haven’t had your period. It is a natural aging process in women and marks the end of reproductive years.
The process of menopause happens in three stages:
- Perimenopause – Also called “menopause transition,” perimenopause usually happens in your 40s, which is 8 to 10 years before your period completely stops. Your ovaries start producing less hormone, estrogen. You may start experiencing symptoms 1 to 2 years before menopause.
- Menopause – At this point, your ovaries stop producing estrogen and eggs, and you don’t get your period anymore. Your healthcare provider will help you diagnose it properly.
- Postmenopause – This is when you haven’t had your period for an entire year or more. Some women’s menopausal symptoms usually get better, but others may keep experiencing them for longer. Due to lower estrogen levels, you may be at an elevated risk of osteoporosis and heart disease.
What Are the Symptoms of Menopause
When your hormone levels change as you transition into menopause, you may experience some symptoms. Some may have mild symptoms, while others may have severe symptoms.
Here are the most common symptoms:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Difficulty sleeping
- Emotional changes
- Worsening of PMS
- Irregular periods
- Urinary urgency
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
- Joint and muscle pains
How to Treat the Symptoms of Menopause
The symptoms of menopause may be disrupting your life, and you may want to treat its symptoms better.
Of course, you will need to talk to your healthcare provider to create a symptoms management plan for your needs. Generally, you can either go for hormone therapy or non-hormonal treatments.
Since your ovaries don’t produce hormones anymore, hormone therapy will help you maintain the levels of estrogen and progesterone through hormonal pills, patches, or creams. Your healthcare provider can guide you to the best.
On the other hand, one of the changes that you can make using non-hormonal treatments is through your diet, as making a change to your diet may also significantly help with menopause symptoms.
What Foods to Eat for Menopause
Since your body goes through many changes during menopause, you should ensure that you eat a healthy and well-balanced diet.
Of course, you shouldn’t make a drastic shift to your diet all of a sudden, as this won’t help with your health goals and instead make it hard to follow a healthy diet plan in the long run.
Here are the foods you should incorporate into your diet.
Remember that menopause puts you at a higher risk of osteoporosis because the body stops producing estrogen, which is essential for bone health. During menopause, with a decline in estrogen, you may also start losing bone density.
Therefore, you should take sufficient levels of calcium every day. Some foods high in calcium are skim milk, low-fat cheese, yogurt, cow’s milk, and soy milk. Oatmeal, leafy veggies, orange juice, and even seasoned tofu are also great sources of calcium.
Vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals. Your plate should definitely include green leafy veggies, like spinach and turnips, as they will not help you manage your weight better but also ensure better bone health.
Other veggies such as kale, broccoli, asparagus, and cauliflower can help you with hot flashes too.
Soy products may help you alleviate some of the symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes or night sweats, as they contain phytoestrogens, a chemical similar to estrogen.
However, not everyone has a certain enzyme that helps convert phytoestrogens into estrogens in the body, so it may work for some but not for all.
Nevertheless, some soy products are soy milk, soy nuts, sprouts, soy flour, tofu, and soybeans.
Lean protein will help you manage weight, as more muscle in women means a faster metabolism, which will prevent weight gain. It will also help boost bone strength and muscle mass.
Sources of lean protein are plain Greek yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, beans, peas, lentils, lean beef, skinless white meat poultry, tuna, and tofu.
Iron and Fiber
Women’s diet is usually low in iron, so you should also pump up your iron for your well-being. Iron can be found in poultry, nuts, eggs, fish, and leafy green veggies.
On the other hand, fiber can help you maintain a healthy weight and may also help some deal with hot flashes. Foods high in fiber are fresh fruits and veggies, whole-grain bread, cereals, and rice.
What Foods Should You Avoid
During menopause, you can also benefit from cutting out or replacing certain foods in your diet. You should also observe how your body reacts to specific foods.
However, in general, here are some of the foods that you should avoid.
Since most women have to deal with hot flashes and sweats at night, you should avoid spicy foods. Spicy foods can increase your body temperature and even aggravate these symptoms.
Hot salsa and jalapeno peppers aren’t the only foods that can add flavor to your food. You can also use herbs such as basil and thyme to enjoy meals without adding spice.
Carbs and Starchy Foods
During menopause, your metabolism slows down, which means you will be putting on some extra pounds a lot quicker as processed, fatty foods just get converted into sugar.
Therefore, you should avoid carbs and starchy foods such as pasta, rice, white bread, and potatoes, along with processed foods and sugars.
Excess caffeine can aggravate your menopausal hot flashes. If you have been dealing with a lot of hot flashes and drinking a lot of coffee, you should cut down on your caffeine consumption.